Military Sealift Command issued the following news release on May 23. It can also be viewed here.
The USNS Medgar Evers is an SIU Government Services Division vessel.
National Maritime Day Observed with Military Sealift Command
The sacrifice of U.S merchant mariners and the contribution of the maritime industry were observed during a National Maritime Day celebration hosted by the Norfolk Propeller Club and Port of Norfolk with participation by Military Sealift Command, May 22.
A wreath laying ceremony and tug boat water salute were also conducted on the Elizabeth River with participation by over 150 members in the maritime industry at the Decker Half Moone Center in downtown Norfolk.
In 1933, Congress designated May 22 as National Maritime Day to recognize the influence of the merchant marine and the maritime industry to American economic prosperity and national defense.
Merchant mariners later fought, and won, one of the greatest logistics battles in human history moving and delivering supplies that enabled the Allied victory in World War II.
As the war was reaching its final moments, General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “When final victory is ours there is no organization that will share its credit more deservedly than the Merchant Marine.”
“National Maritime Day has evolved to become so much more,” said Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, commander, Military Sealift Command, in his remarks. “We now recognize the importance of the Maritime Industry to our nation’s economic strength as well as the service, and sacrifice, of U.S. Merchant Mariners.”
“While we pause to pay tribute to our merchant mariners today, we must recognize that world events continue to reinforce that we are living in a time of great uncertainty and consequence,” Mewbourne said. “As the maritime system becomes more heavily used, more stressed, and more contested than ever before, adaptation and innovation are needed to ensure mission accomplishment.”
MSC’s dry cargo & ammunition ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) served as the event’s backdrop and also hosted public tours on May 21 to celebrate Naval Station Norfolk’s centennial.
Military Sealift Command is the leading provider of ocean transportation for the Navy and the Department of Defense, operating approximately 120 ships daily with approximately 7,200 civil service and contract mariners around the world.
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